Friday, September 19, 2008

Worried for nothing

I'm pretty sure that I have mentioned my insomnia on here before. There are periods where it's better than others, but it's pretty much always with me.

Lately it's been worse and it's kicking my butt. And I've been dragging my feet to go to the doctor. Mostly because I'm afraid I'll get in there, say I can't sleep, be handed a few samples and a prescription for one of the sleep medicines that are so frequently advertised during late night television! And I'm not really afraid of medicine, but I didn't want it to be the first option and I have a fear that I will get addicted to it. Yes, yes, the commercials say you can't not physically become dependent on it, but I know a few people who have become emotionally dependent on it, and I don't trust myself to fall into that category.

And I was worried for nothing. Because yesterday my 6 year old needed to go in for a shot (we've delayed the MMR until now which my doctor is 100% okay with and never pushed me to get it earlier at all.) Since she was going in, and the office takes walk-ins, at the last minute I put my name down on the paper to talk to her.

And talk we did! And it reminded me all over again just why I love my doctor so very much! She actually talked to me at length about all that was going on. She gave me a new bedtime routine to follow. She told me to take melatonin (and over the counter supplement), she taught me a relaxation exercise, she gave me advice - she knew exactly what I was going through and gave me advice that made so much sense to me when she said it. Okay, she also recommended a glass of warm milk and I HATE milk and the thought of it warm totally makes me want to puke but that's minor really. She also told me if it didn't start to help within 2 weeks, we'd bump me up to a prescription strength melatonin and if that didn't start to show some improvements, we'd cross that road when we get to it.

I walked out feeling hopeful and glad she was my doctor. And last night I started the routine: I drank a glass of milk and took my melatonin (I drank it cold because I was not ready to drink it warm just yet). I sat myself down and mentally went over my day - I congratulated myself on all that went well and when I got to the not so great stuff, I told myself that it was okay. I made a mistake. I will do better tomorrow. And I pushed it out of my thoughts and told myself I was done thinking about it (instead of dwelling on it per my usual when I try to go to sleep!). Got ready for bed (although didn't take a shower as she suggested because it was later than I intended it to be by this time). I laid down and read for a little bit. She suggested 30 minutes, I don't think I lasted 30 minutes before I couldn't comprehend what the book was saying. And then I started the relaxation technique - which is basically starting at your head and working down to your toes to get each part of you to relax. I thought for sure I'd have to run through my whole body 2 or 3 times for it to work. I did my head, my shoulders, my right arm and that's about when I went to sleep. It had to be between 12-12:30 am (which beats my normal 3 am bedtime by a lot!).

I woke up at 4:30 am, went to the bathroom, moved to my bedroom*, and fell right back asleep.

This is HUGE news. Typically if I fall asleep anytime before 1 am, I wake back up within 2 hours and cannot fall back asleep for 3-4 hours.

Her routine for me takes care of my two biggest issues: first - I have always been a nightowl. She said it sounds to her that over the years, I have altered my sleep rhythm to not go to bed until 2 or 3 am (hence if I go to bed earlier than that, I wake up because my body interprets it as a nap). Hence the melatonin, to help get my sleep rhythm back to more normal hours and second - the anxiety issues that I have which I am trying to overcome by going over my day before I go to bed and relaxing once I am in bed.

I am praying and hoping I can continue to get good results, but with one night down, it is feeling like it could work for sure!

The only downside is my husband is usually in bed around 9:30. The chances of me ever getting to bed that early seem pretty slim so that's kind of a bummer. Right now my doctor said we are aiming to get me to bed around 11. I will be thrilled if I can go sleep on the same day that I woke up on, so anything before 11:59 sounds good to me LOL!

*I originally went to sleep on the couch because my husband snores and I knew if he was snoring when I laid down it would not help me relax at all, so I opted to try it on the couch where I could make sure it would be very quiet. I think I will do that for a few days, until I get everything down really well and then try it while having him snoring in the background!

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